Archives For writing advice

Because we are…

DebE —  January 11, 2014 — 2 Comments

So, today I read Chuck Wendig’s post “MANLY MEN TALES, SWINGIN’ DICK STORIES, AND HAIRY-CHESTED HISTORIES“, then Sam Sykes’ post “What Is A Man?“, and, of course, Paul S. Kemp’s post that started it all: “Why I write masculine stories“.

Of course, they all got me thinking.

The first thing I noted was how much effort both Chuck and Sam put into emphasising that they weren’t dissing Paul in any way. They were just making their own comments on top of his.

Then I noticed how well-written Paul’s post was. I found it very reasonable. What do they say? “Horses for courses”?

And then I got thinking even deeper… and Continue Reading…

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So, now that I have “finished” my first book and am working on books 2 and 3, I have been doing some researching (some might call it procrastination … but I’m sure it will all be useful in the end).

Xena – Warrior Princess (and a Kiwi, too! – yep, from Oamaru, just up the way …)

Anyway, along with working on these next two books, I am being bombarded by ideas on how to improve my first book – some scenes will need a re-write, some stakes will need to be ramped up … I wanted it to be finished, and I know I am close, but I can see some of the comments I’m likely to get from reviewers/editors already, and I want to fix them so they can be left to only say the really hurtful things.

I was checking out a website full of advice on novel-writing, and one of the things it pointed out is that nothing in a novel should be a coincidence. Sure, they happen in real life. Not in fiction. Well, according to a lady at Pixmar, bad stuff can happen at random. But not good stuff.

But my point from the first site mentioned isn’t about “bad” or “good” events. It’s about everything, even character names. Yes. Apparently, they have to mean something to the story. So I thought Uh oh, I’m gonna have to change some names hereContinue Reading…

OK, I said I was going to dish a little ‘advice’ so here goes my version of advice regarding:

  • Bad Guys – gettin’ to the good stuff (or, Good vs. Evil)
  • “I’ve just realized my plot’s been done a million times before … should I toss it?”

I have SO many versions of my current WIP. I’ve lost beta readers cos I keep re-starting. But, I’m getting close, I can feel it … my presciousssss … anyway, um, where was I?

I guess I’m saying it is really up to you. How excited are YOU by the idea of your current WIP? Sometimes it’s not the outcome that’s important, but the journey. Sure, we know Luke has to defeat Darth Vader, but getting there, finding out that the evil guy is actually Luke’s father – THAT was a kicker. And, even when you know that already, you can go back and watch the movies (the first ones, anyway) because it’s about the journey.

Spin a good tale. Write what you want to write (with half your mind on what will sell, if you hope to sell it). Has it been done before? Yes? No? Does it matter? There are only meant to be so many plots in the world, or something. It’s how you dress it up that matters.  Continue Reading…

Critics – gotta love ’em

DebE —  February 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

I was just reflecting on how lucky I am to have a critic. I’m talking about a friend of mine who isn’t afraid to say “That’s crap” when I shoot an idea her way. And, I think I’ve mentioned before, sometimes she is wrong. Especially because she’s not actually read any of my story, and her understanding of my characters is not quite the same as mine – although, we’re finding a parity.

What’s good about it – even if she is wrong – is that she forces me to look at what I’m doing and re-think it. Why do I think that my idea is the best way to write things? Why is that the best way for my characters to act in that situation? I still remember the time a reviewer told me one of my protags didn’t behave how she expected him to at one point – and the suggestion she made? It was BRILLIANT! And so, Jonas punches Llewella in the gut (Chapter 1, hardly a spoiler) That sounds bad … but, she had just stolen his very, very special knife … and, he thought she was a boy, at the time. It was somewhat deserved, and Jonas IS that kind of guy. How had I not seen that on my own?

I think I know how. I was too focussed on the future romance in the works (which may or may not happen … sometimes characters don’t work out the way you planned) – I just couldn’t imagine him doing something so mean to his future one-and-only. What I needed to do was to come back to the “here and now”. Forget the future. They can deal with the fact that he did that then. If it matters.

So, for someone who said they don’t dispense advice on their blog, I’m advising: get other opinions. Or, at least, let that idea/scene/reaction stew for a bit. And don’t be scared to ask what others think.

(As I have found myself ‘advising’ someone else recently, I will, in fact, be dishing a little advice over the next wee while – just in case it helps others. However, I recommend that people who like my advice go and look up further information from others – I am not the holy grail of writing know-how).